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By Robert Rapier on Jun 10, 2008 with no responses

Americans Responding to $4 Gasoline


A new study has been released by Access America that reinforces the point that $4 gasoline is beginning to impact the driving habits of most Americans. Below is a copy of the complete press release.


At Four Dollars per Gallon Almost Three Quarters of Americans Report Changing Driving Habits to Cope with Gas Prices

Among those who have changed their driving, the median gas price at which they did so was $3.20 per gallon, a level reached in March 2008

Richmond, Va., June 6, 2008 – A recent national survey commissioned by Access America, a leading travel insurance and assistance provider, asked Americans if they have made changes to their driving habits as a result of rising gas prices.

  • With the price reaching $4.00 per gallon, 74 percent of respondents said they would change their driving habits as a result of rising gas prices.
  • Of those who have already made changes to their driving habits, the pressure price for this group: $3.20 per gallon.

The survey also asked respondents how they are planning to save. The results show that Americans first tend to reduce non-essential driving:

  • 26 percent say that cutting back on travel or recreational driving is the first substantial change they made or will make due to rising gas prices.
  • 21 percent say the first thing they did or will do is to consolidate or reduce errands.

Additionally, fewer Americans first look to alternate forms of transportation such as carpooling (7%), walking or biking when possible (6%), or using public transportation more often (4%). Only 3% say that the first thing they did or will do is buy a more fuel-economic car or a hybrid.

As the price at the pump continues to rise, more and more Americans will be changing their driving habits:

  • At $3.00 per gallon, 35% of Americans had changed their habits.
  • At $3.50 per gallon, it was more than half at 67%.
  • By $5.00 per gallon, 85% of all Americans will have changed their driving habits.

“We know gas prices are a point-of-pain, but this survey puts a specific price pressure-point against the changes being made,” said Mark Cipolletti, vice president for Access America. “With three quarters of the country already making changes, we may see more significant changes to driving habits across the country before summer’s end.”

Those who have already changed their driving habits are particularly prevalent among adults with a household income of less than $50,000 per year (73%), parents of children under 18 (72%), those living in the South (72%) and those saying the country is headed on the wrong track (71%).

Proportions of Americans who first cut back on recreational driving as a response to higher gas prices vary little across age and income groups. However, those aged 55 and older are more likely than younger adults aged 18-54 to mention consolidating or reducing errands (30% vs. 18%). Southerners (12%) and those aged 18-34 (10%) are more likely than others to mention carpooling. Those making less than $25,000 (9%) and Northeasterners (7%) are more likely than others to cite using public transportation as their first response to higher gas prices.

About the Survey

The survey was conducted May 30- June 2, 2008 by IPSOS Public Affairs, an independent global, survey-based research company owned and managed by research professionals. As part of its weekly U.S. Telephone Omnibus Study, IPSOS interviewed 1000 adults ages 18 and older. The margin of error for the entire survey is 3% at a 95% confidence level.